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Facts about Rosa Parks and the Bus Boycott Story

Rosa Parks is regarded as the mother of the American civil rights movement. Some facts about the life of Rosa Parks are mentioned below:

  • The Early Life: Rosa Parks was born as Rosa Louise McCauley on February 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her mother was Leona Edwards, a teacher and father James McCauley, a carpenter. She was of African-American, Cherokee-Creek, and Scots-Irish ancestry.
    • Rosa always had poor health as a child. After the separation of her parents, she moved to Pine Level, Montgomery, Alabama with her mother. She was a lifelong member of the African Episcopal MethodistChurch community.

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    • Rosa took academic and vocational courses at the all-black private Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery.She also attended the Alabama State Teachers College high school, currently called the Alabama State University.Virginia and Clifford Durr, a white couple, also asked Rosa to go to the Highlander Folk School, a place that offered training for racial equality activists and workers’ rights.
    • Rosa and Raymond Parks got married in 1932. Raymond asked her to finish her high school education, which she did in 1933.
    • Between the years 1930 and 1955, Rosa held several jobs as a seamstress, housekeeper, life insurance agent, and secretary. She spent her free time in the NAACP or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and working for the voter registration movement.She became an NAACP secretary in 1943 and thus joined the Civil Rights Movement activist like her husband. In 1944, she spent some time working at the Maxwell Air Force Base, a place where racial segregation was not allowed.

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  • rosa parks montgomery bus boycott

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    • The Bus Ride: On December 1, 1955, at the age of 42 years, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. She was returning home on the public bus from her seamstress job at the Montgomery Fair department store. She was charged with violating the Jim Crow practices, i.e., Chapter 6, Section 11 of the Montgomery City code.
      • Rosa’s refusal to comply with the wrongful order of the bus driver sparked nationwide arrest and other civil disobedience movements.Additional charges of ‘violation of local ordinance’ and ‘disorderly conduct’ were added after the announcement of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
      • The 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system called in response to the arrest of Rosa and the system of segregation began on December 5, 1955. It is regarded as the official commencement of the American Civil Rights movement. This was also the day of Parks’ trial which lasted for 30 minutes. She was found guilty and a fine of $14 was imposed on her. The verdict was appealed, wherein her lawyers argued that the local laws were unconstitutional.
      • During this time period, Rosa Parks collaborated with many national Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., which gave a lot of impetus to the movement and garnered lots of international attention.
      • On November 13, 1956, the segregation laws of the Montgomery bus system are declared illegal and unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The written orders of the court are served to the official of Montgomery on December 20, 1956, thereby ending the boycott and leading to integration of the buses.

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      • Later Life: In 1957, Raymond and Rosa Parks along with other members of her family move to Detroit, Michigan to avoid harassment associated with pro segregation. Her work as an activist continues with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
        • She becomes the administrative assistant to U.S. Congressional Representative John Conyers in 1965 and holds that position till 1988.
        • Her husband dies of cancer in 1977.
        • Her autobiographical book ‘Rosa Parks: My Story’ gets published in December 1991.
        • Parks is diagnosed with progressive dementia in 2004. She dies on October 24, 2005 of natural causes at the ripe age of 92.
        • Awards and Recognitions:After the Montgomery Bus boycott, she was given the honor of an international icon for the cause of Civil Rights.
          • In 1979, she was given the Spingarn Medal.She was also posthumously honored at Capitol Rotunda and the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
          • In February 1991, a bronze bust of Rosa Parks was unveiled by the Smithsonian Institute at the National Portrait Gallery.
          • The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center bestowed upon Rosa the first International Freedom Conductor Award in 1998.
          • She attended the State of the Union Address on January 19, 1999 and sat next to First Lady Hillary Clinton. She was also referenced in the address as being a part of the nation’s effort towards racial harmony.
          • On June 15, 1999, Parks is awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the President, Bill Clinton.
          • In February 2002, ‘The Rosa Parks Story’ premiered on TV. The Montgomery home of Parks is put on the National Registry of Historic Places by the National Parks Service.
          • The front seats of all city buses in Montgomery and Detroit are reserved with black ribbons as homage and respect to Parks on the day of her death. All flags in the nation’s public areas, including the Capitol and US territories, were flown at half-mast.
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